Stefan Zweifel on storing user preferences in a Laravel application

Stefan Zweifel explains how he stores user preferences in a Laravel application using spatie/laravel-data. With the data package, you can store user settings as a blog of JSON in your database—so you don't need to update your table schema for every change—and have a typed object to work with in code.

He mentions poor query performance as a possible tradeoff if you need to query the database for a specific value.

One thing to keep in mind is that querying for specific settings can lead to performance issues and should probably be avoided.

If your app regularly needs to query for users who have selected a particular date_format , it's better to promote this setting to its own column. This makes the work of your database and possible indexing much easier.

If this is something you need, you could solve it with a virtual column mapped to a JSON value of the settings object. There's a nice tutorial on that on the Kirschbaum blog